Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Interestingly, January 1, 1845 was the date when the Cobble Hill Tunnel in Brooklyn was completed and ready for traffic. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation of Emancipation, setting into motion the freeing of over four million slaves who were still being held in the South. Certainly, this event and the many documents from that day at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation and other locations signified a dramatic change in New York and around the country.
In 1874 on this date New York City annexed the Bronx. In 1892, Ellis Island became a reception center for the first time on this date for new immigrants. And, of course, in 1908, the ball dropped for the first time in Times Square, creating the now famous New Year’s Eve celebration.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
There is so much to do in the midtown Manhattan over the holidays – both for adults and children. Experience the area with Gray Line’s “Holiday Lights” tour and enjoy the lights at Rockefeller Center, Central Park’s Tavern on the Green and Times Square. For a bit of history, one cannot be in the area and not visit Macy’s – the first ever department store since the 1870s, to feature Christmas windows. And for those who want to turn their kids’ dream into a reality, the Gotham wintry wonderland is a must-see.
After the long day in the city, Shimmie Horn’s Washington Jefferson Hotel offers a smart, chic, and tranquil place to lay one’s head. Other spots to see in the New York area include Lord & Taylor.
Lord & Taylor this year marks its 75th anniversary of festive displays, boasting Santa’s hipster hang, snowy peaks and more. And Saks Fifth Avenue will not disappoint either, offering a chalkboard animation with cameras projecting the visitor’s face into a snowflake kaleidoscope. The light show plays every eight minutes from 5 ‘til 10pm. Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys and Bloomingdales make great entertainment stops for the whole family as well.
Christmas is truly a wonderful time for everyone – and this year – as in years gone by, midtown Manhattan is displaying the joy for all to see.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
In the wake of the hurricane that hit the New York and New Jersey area, many company owners showed their appreciation for the extra work that their team undertook during this difficult time. One such company owner was Daniel Straus CareOne, who took the time to write a letter to his 4000 employees in 29 healthcare centers throughout New Jersey.
In the letter to his staff, Daniel Straus wrote, "As Thanksgiving fast approaches, I wish to thank each and every one of you for your extraordinary efforts in recent weeks as you have dealt with the many adverse impacts of Hurricane Sandy on both your professional and personal lives."
As he continued, "Throughout these weeks you have time and again shown a steadfast dedication to meeting the highest standards of safety, care and services for CareOne residents. You have achieved this despite the fact that many of you faced serious obstacles – either at your homes or those of your loved ones – caused by the storm."
In conclusion, he added, "Please accept my deepest thanks to you and your families. Happy Thanksgiving."
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
It’s one thing to quit a job, but it’s quite another to quit while on the job. That’s what Oreo – a horse which had seemingly had enough did when he was meant to be leading a tour by Columbus Circle last week. While the driver tried to keep his “employee” under control, it seemed the horse was too strong for him – both in body and mind – leading to him being dragged too! And it wasn’t only the driver and tourists who were affected. A few cars were struck by the carriage that spiraled out of control too. Finally some police officers caught the horse and managed to get it into an NYPD trailer and by early evening Oreo was back in its stable.
This event brings into question the safety and responsibility of the horse and carriage. Indeed, the group New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) argued that what happened is proof that the time has now arrived for there to be a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
Advantages of Horse-Drawn Carriages
However, it would be such a shame for tourists – and residents who have the time – to no longer able to see the wonder of the city through the fun, traditional method of horse-drawn carriages. It truly is a spectacular way of experiencing Central Park’s glory and being exposed to a fun view of life in the Big Apple.
Indeed, given that Midtown Manhattan is one of the world’s busiest and most crowded areas, surely there must be alternatives to this way of experiencing it. There is so much to see and a whole slew of fascinating stories to hear, wouldn’t it thus perhaps be better to go on foot? That is what Free Tours by Foot would have one believe. The company offers a two hour tour for those wanting to get a taste of Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and lots of other stops in between.
Another way of seeing Manhattan in style is via the hop-on, hop-off bus tours with top-deck only seating offering awesome views of the city, its attractions and neighborhoods. Indeed, given that today there are so many great, innovative and exciting ways to really experience Midtown Manhattan, the question is, is it really necessary for the horse-drawn carriages to continue operating? There are guided tours of New York, cruises in New York, helicopter rides, the Woodbury Common bus from New York shopping day trip and more. For those looking for a somewhat darker view of the city, they can check out the Night Tours where they will be privy to an illuminated view of Manhattan’s skyline. There are clearly thus a lot of pros and cons to bidding farewell to the likes of Oreo and his four-legged friends in the business of leading tours around Midtown Manhattan.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Haunted Hotel Wolcott?
Could it be possible that New York’s West 31st Street Hotel Wolcott – designed by John H. Duncan and built in 1904 and restored in 1975 by Scott Erlich – is haunted? Whether it is or not, it’s quite the sight, boasting an ornate stonework exterior, limestone and brick, and a modernly-restored interior. While some of this could do with some work (the steel grates have turned a somewhat green hue over time), the restored lobby boasts crystal chandeliers, marble columns and ceiling colors coordinated to match its carpet. Wood columns have replaced the marble, and artisan Felix Chavez has restored the plasterwork.
Renovation V Modernization
Still, even though there has been a great deal of (necessary) renovation, it has been Erlich’s intention from the start to keep everything to as much of its original look as possible. It’s clearly a very special building; it’s been frequented by lots of interesting people, including Buddy Holly, Miles Davis and even titanic survivors! Every room is quite different, in style and even shape, boasting huge closets as was the day’s style, which is perhaps what lends it its eerie flavor. Guests have reported seeing two little children playing at the top of the lobby stairwell or hearing a radio that’s not on. But what’s great about these weird and wonderful things is that people don’t get scared when they experience them here as, according to Erlich, it’s “part of the charm.” So much of New York happened in this building that makes it what it is today. For example, Edith Wharton authored “The Fruit of the Tree” and Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s hosted his inaugural ball.
Back to Basics
Although the prices for a room are relatively inexpensive for a New York hotel these days (at $180), back in the day in 1904, a “room with a bath” was advertised for a mere $3 a night! It remains a quiet street, conveniently located close to the Empire State Building and Madison Square Park. While some of the culture is missing from old times (the Opera House is no longer and the Theatre District has moved) it still has its tranquil feel. Now Erlich is renovation the huge ballroom which has been the venue for Bon Appetit and GQ photo shoots. He’s considering an upscale restaurant or bar now for the space.
NY Hotel with a Difference
What’s happening with other hotels in the area? There are constantly new hotels being erected but somehow, one in particular, is suddenly garnering all the attention. Perhaps it is because the 550,000 square foot building is to be erected in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Yes, actually inside the park. Being handled by Rogers Marvel Architects, the design will enable each floor to include some vegetation at the top so that the building ends up “blending” with the park. As project architect Jonathan Marvel explained, “we didn't want the building to draw too much attention to itself. We wanted it to be a good neighbor.”
Indeed, it looks like that’s exactly what the building is going to be since the white limestone that will be used for the construction will reflect the changing sunlight so that people on ferries and drivers crossing the Brooklyn Bridge will see a building by the water changing with the light from the river that, in the late afternoon sun will burn brown and in the early morning will cool off. The intention is for the building to really “respect the park,” so it will comprise natural finishes and wood-coated support columns.
So the next time you’re in the Manhattan area visiting and you don’t want to stay in one of the standard hotels, think about meeting up with some ghosts or ending your nightly stroll in the park in your bed! Yes indeed, Manhattan really does have it all!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Community leaders and other organizers are getting out the word that building a shopping mall in Oyster Bay, Long Island will bring great benefit to the community in Nassau County. And this would be just at the moment when it is needed most.
It is expected that building the mall will create as many as 3,000 construction jobs and an additional 2,000 permanent jobs. New tax revenues will be generated, estimated to be about $50 million, a great boost to county and municipal budgets. Centrally located on a reclaimed industrial site and the only shopping center with immediate access to the Long Island Expressway, it seems clear that this mall will add significantly to the general economy of Nassau County.
When the mall at Oyster Bay is completed it will be the first such major shopping mall constructed on Long Island in over 40 years.
“By any criteria or economic metric, this is a project of strategic regional significance,” said Gary Lewi, a spokesman for the mall’s developer. The mall at Oyster Bay “is a shovel-ready, privately financed project with no need for any taxpayer funding.”
Thursday, July 5, 2012
From Groceries to Banks
There’s quite a bit of excitement these days in Midtown Manhattan. Two new institutions in particular are soon to be gracing the area. Indeed, it won’t just be Brooklyn and Queens’ residents that can take advantage of Fairway Market since there will now be a branch in the Loew’s Multiplex Cinema shopping plaza on Second Avenue and 30th Street, due to be constructed before the end of the year.
And it’s going to be big too. Measuring at 42,000 square feet, Midtown Manhattan shoppers will be faced with two glass elevators as well as two extra wide ones, taking them to the lower level market, tempting them with traditional, organic and specialty foods at competitive prices.
Fairway Market really is a store with a difference. The lead merchants are real foodie Rock Stars who come out on Saturdays, showering customers with top tastes; answering questions and getting excited about different foods. There is Steven Jenkins, Tony Maltese, Benny Lanfranco, Robert Ivers who serve fresh shrimp salad; whip up a tomato sauce for the store’s fresh ravioli; and demystify the secrets of coffee roasting. This is definitely something midtowners have to look forward to.
Then, for the more serious Midtown Manhattan residents, looking for a highly reputable commercial community bank, they will be pleased to learn that Community National Bank recently opened a 2,4000 square foot full-service branch at 12 East 52nd Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues). Given that it is the fastest-growing commercial community in the NY tri-state area, it is likely to be a welcome addition to the Midtown Manhattan region.
The bank’s opening should not come as too much of a surprise, since the Community National Bank has recently enjoyed success throughout Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties. Services that will be offered will include free web banking; cash management services; remote deposit capture and ATM 24-hour accessibility. It is expected that this bank will have a hugely positively impact on the area’s businesses, boosting development as a commercial banking partner, given the fact that it already has a reputation for being a well-managed $500-million asset bank.
So next time you find yourself in Midtown Manhattan, look out for both the Fairway Market and the Community National Bank and see how – or if – it has changed the face of the region.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Midtown Manhattan is about to be graced by the presence of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum. The Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards television show was created by New Yorker, James 'JT' Thompson. In addition, the Museum area will boast: an arcade; concert lounge; community and corporate rooms; a gift shop; marquee and television studios. In its entirety, it will be known as the Hip Hop Museum and Educational Complex.
Location, Location, Location
This new location for the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum is perfect for both international and local tourists who enjoy Hip Hope Music as well as its culture, entertainment and art. Although plans have not been finalized yet, according to Bobby Fisher, the company’s business development manager, meetings are taking place to complete acquisition and development budgets for its funding. It is expected that it will take between a year-and-a-half to two years to complete the construction. Nonetheless, even before that final date of construction, there is set to be an official unveiling this summer, coinciding with the Hip Hop Hall of Fame All Star Benefit Concert event. As well, there will be a national road show in which major corporate advertisers and category sponsors for the exhibits etc. will be met.
More Jobs for Midtowners
The other great news about the Hip Hop Hall of Fame for midtowners, is that it is due to provide up to 300 jobs and other such opportunities, along with educational endeavors and outreach programs for youth and families. The city’s socio-economic impact is anticipated at reaching more than $350 million in its first three years, attracting 650,000 visitors, commerce, city revenues, etc. per year.
Educating the City’s Kids
In addition, the museum is set to mentor more than 20,000 NYC public school children annually, in conjunction with the children’s mascot, B-Boy Scratch & Friends, organizing special field trips to the complex.
So it looks like the Hip Hop Hall of Fame’s move to midtown Manhattan is going to be an incredible enhancement for the city of New York.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Midtown Manhattan in the heart of NYC is not exactly best-known for its lazy walkways and peaceful pedestrian plazas. But the city wants that to change. With that in mind, there are plans to construct a promenade to connect six areas through crosswalks, thus linking 51st to 57th Streets between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The idea is that ultimately, a pedestrian plaza spanning a quarter-of-a-mile via building lobbies. While doing this, according to NYC lawyer, Jonathan C Reiter, the Department of Transport will set up stop signs in the middle of blocks, as well as crosswalks and speed bumps in an attempt to enhance pedestrian safety.
But while these plans may indeed help pedestrian safety in the city, drivers are stressing that they will worsen traffic. However, since the Tri-State Transportation Campaign identified the most dangerous roads in the area and thus put forward the implementation of safety measures, it seems safety has to take a front seat, even if this distressing to drivers.
Environment Meets NYC’s Streets
But maybe there is a solution for these concerned drivers. The bike-sharing program is being planned for NYC for July which will definitely be good news for traffic in the area. It’s a great idea, and for sure good for the environment – cycling is definitely better than driving – but one of the concerns of New Yorkers is the placement of the bikes.
So here are the answers that have been given so far: there will be around four dozen bike stations along the West Side of Manhattan, including: Broadway (east side); Columbus Circle to Pennsylvania Station. Then there will also be smaller stations on sidewalks including the southeast corner of Eight Avenue and 41st Street in front of The New York Times Building, as well as parks, like Hudson River Park. Cyclists will have the option of taking out a yearly membership (for approximately $100) and be given a key, or to pay on a one-time basis at kiosks.
Perhaps once the pedestrian plazas are introduced in Manhattan, the addition of cyclists will limit the amount of drivers and thus the traffic situation in the city will remain the same (or even improve) but certainly not get any worse. That is at least the hope for the Big Apple.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
What is the cheapest pizza to be found in Manhattan? One dollar isn’t exactly expensive, but if a slice can be found for less than a dollar, then that has to be a real bargain. Well, now, the midtown Manhattan New Yorker can just cruise along Sixth Avenue amidst 37th and 38th Streets and indeed pay a mere 75 cents for a slice of pizza.
Origins of Cheap Slices
So how did the pizza at 2 Bros. Pizza eatery get so cheap? Well, it started off with a nice neighborly brawl. Sixth Avenue Pizza dropped their slices to 79 cents and thus 2 Bros. Pizza right next door had to respond in kind, offering their pizza slice for 75 cents too. Not wanting to let this go, Sixth Avenue Pizza dropped the four additional cents to stay competitive. According to the manager of that store Mohit Kumar, the aim now is for “maximum sale, minimum profit.”
Since so many Pizza places in the area already offer a slice for $1, there had to be something in these Pizza stores – the managers felt – that would draw in the clientele. And that is exactly what has happened. Although it seems that while these stores are competing nicely, they’re making practically zero profit on each slice, resulting in just the customers being the winners.
Thankfully neither Pizza store owner has any plan to further decrease the already ridiculously low price. At least, that’s what they’re claiming.
One might want to keep frequenting these pizza joints though since the New York Pizza Department no longer exists. It has been replaced by the Plaza Mexican Grill on the corner of Chittenden Avenue and High Street. Here, there are no pizzas in sight; this is a restaurant offering Mexican food. And it’s a little pricier than the above Pizza eateries, with prices starting at $1.50 for chips and salsa to $6.99 for a taco salad or burrito.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
It’s not like there is a shortage of 7-Eleven Inc. franchises in the Manhattan area. But apparently that doesn’t bother the huge corporation that is expecting to open a further 14 stores (in addition to the 12 it has already) in 2012 in Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Midtown and the Upper East Side. According to the company’s VP of real estate, Dan Porter, the reason is obvious: “between the number of folks living in Manhattan, coupled with the worker population, there's significant demand and opportunity.”
This all seems very nice from a business perspective. But shouldn’t we try to step aside for a bit and be kinder? Given that over 16 percent of individuals have income below the poverty line, wouldn’t it be better and kinder for the hugely successful 7-Eleven chain spends a little of its profits on donating to the needy in society? Well, research actually shows that one can hardly criticize 7-Eleven in this area since its corporate social responsibility program in Malaysia successfully raised RM26,220 from donation boxes placed at its outlets. This particular recent charity drive was held in aid of the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF). In addition, a staggering 1,315 7-Eleven stores throughout America participated in the "Spare A Change, Save A Life" donation drive that took place last November. NFK’s CEO Chua Hong Wee said, “NFK is grateful to 7-Eleven's kind support in this meaningful charity drive; the funds will definitely help ease the burden of our kidney patients. All the support and kindness shown have enabled NKF to continue to do what we do best, providing dialysis care to poor kidney patients and also educating the public on kidney care.”
So it’s all about karma and it probably thus should be welcomed that 7-Eleven is doing so well in the world of corporatism and capitalism. Rather than be bitter about this corporation’s success, one should be supporting it. It’s all very well bemoaning these large companies and complaining they are running out other companies as Tweeter Hyun Kim did recently by Tweeting, “Support your local bodega before it gets taken over by 7-Eleven or is forced to close by 7-Eleven,” but at the end of the day, we should be congratulating and encouraging the company to continue what it’s doing as it is clearly helping those in need in a huge way.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Of course the party had to carry on in to Times Square, following the victory of the New York Giants at Sunday’s Super Bowl. It was quite a scene as tons of fans emptied out of sports bars yelling “Giants! Giants! Giants!” Drivers were shouting the same out of their windows and passers-by were roaring. Police officers tried to ensure the situation was kept under control through crowd-management but it seemed like they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people coming out in their blue-and-white Giants attire. And keeping it all under control and pleasant is important given what happened the last time the Giants were in the Super Bowl four years ago. At that event, a staggering 176 drunken driving arrests took place in New Jersey which marks the second highest total in the state for a Super Bowl Sunday. There can be a lot of fun and celebration; but it has to be kept under control.
Because the city was so proud of itself with its win, the mayor, Michael Bloomberg promised a ticker-tape parade and ceremony would be held for the Giants a couple of days later. As he pointed out, “Big Blue gave us a game to remember, and on Tuesday we're going to give them a parade to remember.” An anticipated 1 million spectators were set to show up at MetLife Stadium.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
It seems like the traditional job-hunting method of sending a resume to apply for a job may soon become passé. These days in New York, up-and-coming companies are more interested in your presence in social media. Union Square Ventures asked potential employees to show their “web presence” such as their Twitter account or Tumblr blog and to also send in a video of themselves talking about why they would be appropriate for the job. It is doing this because it believes this method will generate higher quality candidates since the company itself has a strong Internet-social media presence.
Indeed, according to an associate at the company, Christina Cacioppo, you don’t get much depth from a resume anyway. She herself has blogged about the company’s hiring process on its website and got the job herself having developed a profile with Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to show her social-media savviness and suitability for the job. Using this method to hire people really could be the way to working out more about them, what they like and how they think. An employer also needs to get a sense of how well matched the candidate will be socially, vis-à-vis the other employees as well as the corporate thinking. This is an especially inventive way of narrowing down the increasing amount of people applying for jobs due to current high levels of unemployment.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Chic French brasserie, located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, at 60 West 55th Street, Benoit is marking its centenary, having opened in 1912. It became part of the Alain Duncasse Enterprise in 2005.
Today, together with Chef Philippe Bertineau, Duncasse has ensured the menu is a “celebrat[ion of] traditional French cuisine alongside seasonal ingredients.” It seems like the only criticism of the food is that the amazing gratinéed onion soup – divine in its golden crusting encircling a “bubbling gooey and rich, beefy and fragrant” inside – is “exceedingly messy to eat,” according to reviewer Melissa Clark who wrote about it in an article in The New York Times.
At the bar, choose from any one of the delectable French and American wines by the glass, beers and more. Private dining facilities seat up to 65 guests. For something more intimate, choose the Officine, which seats 10 in an antique 19th century pharmacy setting from Bordeaux. There, one can enjoy a personalized menu and the opportunity to select from Alain Duncasse’s private wine cellar.
Monday, January 30, 2012
As well as being a successful business entrepreneur, Tim Bergling and Arash Pournouri are hoping to feed those with less than adequate resources. The two are currently in New York as part of their House for Hunger Tour which ultimately aims to raise $1m for Feeding America. They are performing at Midtown Manhattan’s Lavo Nightclub.
It has always been a priority for Bergling to combine philanthropy with his talents. Pournouri felt the same. He said that the two of them had often been approached throughout their career to do charitable events, but never complied as he was never confident he knew exactly where all the money would end up.
While they will be doing this first for America, the hope is that they will go around the world as well, having come to the realization that hunger is so much more than just confined to a third world issue.
Monday, January 23, 2012
If you happen to be in Midtown Manhattan tomorrow, then you should try snagging tickets for a classic legend who is returning to the area to perform for the first time as a solo artist in over 30 years. Although truthfully, tickets to Petula Clark’s concert to be held at Feinstein’s from January 24 to February 4th, are probably all sold out.
79-year old Clark did however join other performers in Washington Square Park in “an effort to energize lower Manhattan in the wake of September 11 attacks” a few months ago however. But these performances are set to be something midtowners haven’t been privy to in quite a few decades and will probably really rock the town.
The lady has been somewhat of an icon since she was a child. Since then, she has sold over 70 million records, the most famous of which was probably “Downtown.” It was in the 1960s that she really became popular and successful. In addition, Clark starred in various popular musicals including Goodbye, Mr. Chips and on stage in The Sound of Music and Blood Brothers.
While Clark still performs throughout the world, it’s been a long time since she showed up singing and dancing in NYC so this sure is big, exciting news for New Yorkers!
Monday, January 16, 2012
Properties in Midtown Manhattan are prime real estate. This is not news. But as a new example of this, just recently, an office building in the area (that is currently the headquarters of HarperCollins Publishers) is about to be purchased for $252.5 million by SL Green Realty Corp. (SLG). SLG specializes in commercial properties. Right now, the building they will be purchasing is under 91 percent lease. The intention of SLG is thus to engage in a marketing and leasing campaign through which it will make huge capital improvements. The address of the property is 10 East 53rd Street.
SLG has joined forces with a partner but it will hold 55 percent in the venture and be general partner in the project. According to President Andrew Mathias, the company feels that once it puts its managerial stamp on the property, it will “become a highly coveted business address in the Plaza submarket.” This would definitely be welcome news for SLG which reported a drop of 88 percent in its third-quarter earnings last October compared to the same time period the year earlier.
Monday, January 9, 2012
If you happen to be in the Midtown Manhattan area with kids, you might be looking for something to do. First, know this: every kid likes candies. Armed with that knowledge, you are in the right place as you are right by Dylan’s Candy Bar. Indeed, this will probably be more than just a fun day activity for your kid – it will be a dream come true. The store is lined with all sorts of exciting candies, colors and chocolates and is akin to a real-life replica of the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory that pretty much every kid dreams of entering. There are more than 5,000 types of candy available as well as candy-related gifts.
The store is loved by kids and adults alike and has been featured in various magazines including Elle, Town & County, and even The Wall Street Journal. It has even been reported as being “the best candy store.” Three years ago the store expanded from 10,000 to 15,000, adding a third additional floor. This thus today renders it the world’s largest candy store.